Thursday, January 23, 2014

Red Berry Pancakes

100 grams of self raising flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
3 tablespoons of soft brown sugar
1 egg
100 ml of milk
200 grams of mixed berries
Butter for frying

Mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and brown sugar in a large bowl.

Make a well in the centre and then crack in the egg.
Gradually mix the egg into the flour, adding the milk slowly to make a soft batter.

Mix in the berries.

Heat some butter in a frying pan and dollop the batter into the pan.

When the bubbles appear on the surface, flip the pancakes over and cook until lightly golden.



Saturday, January 18, 2014

Mixed Red Fruit Cake

This started life as 'Raspberry Bakewell Cake' but has developed based on what ingredients I had in the house.

45 grams of ground almonds
45 grams of pecan nuts, broken into small pieces
45 grams of dessicated coconut
140 grams of softened butter
140 grams of demerara sugar
140 grams of self raising flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
250 grams of mixed berries

Heat the oven to 160 degrees.

Mix together the almonds, pecans, coconut, butter, sugar, flour, eggs and vanilla extract until well combined.

Spread half the mixture into the springform cake tin, top with the fruit then spread the remainder of the cake mixture over the top.

Bake for one hour.

Cool slightly, then serve.

Arbroath Smokie Cullen Skink


An Arbroath Smokie is smoked haddock from a town called Arbroath in Scotland.  If you are unable to get these then I would use smoked mackarel in its place.

1 large Arbroath Smokie
500 ml of water
1 onion
3 potatoes
Pepper
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of mixed herbs
1 handful of frozen peas
1 handful of frozen sweetcorn
4 tablespoons of creme fraiche

Flake the fish and put it to one side.

Place the bones and skin in a pan with 500 ml of water and half an onion.

Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

Drain into another pan, discard the bones, onion etc.




Cube the potatoes and chop the remaining half onion.

Add these choped vegetables to the stock with the pepper, nutmeg and herbs.

Bring to the boil then simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Add the peas and sweetcorn and boil for a few more minutes.

Cool slightly, then stir in the creme fraiche and flaked fish.

Cranberry and Ginger Cocktail Sausages


Is it really obvious how many of my early 2014 recipes have been inspired by Christmas leftovers?  Well, trust me, these can be enjoyed at any time of the year!


50 frozen cocktail sausages
4 tablespoons of cranberry sauce
4 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of oil
1 teaspoon of ground ginger


Heat the oven to 220 Degrees.

Put the cocktail sausages in a large dish and place in the oven for 20 minutes (cooking time can be reduced if the sausages are not frozen).

Meanwhile mix all the rest of the ingredients together.

Pour the dressing over the sausages.

Cook for a further 20 minutes until the sausages are browned and sticky.

Gammon and Coke

Yes - it's exactly as it sounds!  I have Nigella to thank for this one (as I do for many of my recipes) but I have put my own spin on it.  I make this every Christmas and usually serve it with some creamy potato dauphinoise, however it would also go well with roast potatoes, roast vegetables (especially parsnips) or mashed potatoes.  It is pretty much impossible to go wrong with this one but I will give you the same advice that the lovely Nigella gives.....do not even consider using diet coke!!

Gammon (I trust you to use the size you need depending on how many you are serving and adjust the quantities below accordingly - I use a small piece of gammon which serves two people)
1 litre of coke
1 onion
2 tablespoons of treacle
2 teaspoons of mustard powder
2 teaspoons of brown sugar
2 teaspoons of mixed spice

Put the gammon in a large pan with the coke and the quartered onion.

Bring to the boil then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 220 Degrees (if you are making the gammon ahead don't put your oven on at the moment, just leave the gammon in the coke until you are ready to bake it but increase the oven time to 40 minutes or so, until it is heated right through).

Put the gammon in an oven proof dish and spread the treacle over the skin, followed the the rest of the glaze ingredients sprinkled over.

Cook for 15 minutes then leave to sit for 5 minutes or so before slicing and serving.

Crab Pasta

I get tubs of crab meat from a wee local fish van.  It is very strong and I know that may not be to everyone's taste but if you are a fan of crab meat, this recipe is a great way to enjoy it.  Feel free to adjust the quantity of chilli based on how fiery you like it.

Zest of 1 lemon
2 chopped spring onions
1 crushed clove of garlic
Half a red chilli, chopped finely
Splash of olive oil
100 grams of white crab meat
150 grams of mange tout
150 grams of pasta
salt and pepper
lemon juice

Put the zest, onions, garlic and chilli into a frying pan with a splash of olive oil.

Heat gently for a few minutes then add the crab meat, mix well and cook for a few more minutes.

Meanwhile cook the pasta in salted boiling water, adding the mange tout for the last couple of minutes.

Mix the crab mix with the drained pasta and mange tout and serve squeezed with lemon juice and seasoning to taste.

Prawn Cocktail

Created out of Christmas leftovers!!  However, I do love the retro feel to this starter - I can just imagine eating it followed by a well done steak and then black forest gateau......feeling the 80s' vibe anyone?!?!?

If you wanted to do a simpler version you could just mix some prawns with mayo, ketchup and lemon juice. dollop over some lettuce and serve some brown bread on the side.  This will be really nice but I have to be honest with you and say that the version below does have a certain razzle dazzle feel to it!!


4 tablespoons of mayonaise
2 tablespoons of tomato ketchup
Juice of one lemon
100 grams of cooked prawns
Lettuce, cucumber and tomato (or whatever salad you fancy)
50 grams of smoked salmon
Sprinkle of smoked paprika
Sliced lemon
Brown bread to serve




Mix the mayo, ketchup and lemon juice, taste and alter quantities if required.

Mix the prawns into the sauce.

Arrange the salad on a plate and dollop the prawn mixture in the middle.

Snip over the smoked salmon and sprinkle over some smoked paprika.

Top with another slice of lemon.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Twilight Chef review - 2013

So 2013 draws to a close.  This has been my first year as a blogger and I have loved it, spreading the word of how much I love to cook and eat is an absolute pleasure and thanks to everyone who has visited my blog.

2013 has been a year of mixed emotions, in fact (at the risk of being over-dramatic) 2013 has undoubtedly been the worst year of my life up to now due to the fact that I lost my Mum.  She was my constant rock and every day without her continues to be a struggle.  I realised as I got into my blog, how many of my recipes are inspired by Mum who was a fantastic cook and baker.  I will never ever be able to emulate her homemade bread, potato and leek soup, country pork casserole, trifle or chestnut stuffing or countless others, but as long as there is breath in my body I will continue to try to be a cook and a person that she would be proud of.

Some of the recipes on my blog which specifically come from Mum's legacy include:














There are so many more though and many more to come as I continue my food blogging journey.


Where there is darkness though, there is always light and some of my highlights of 2013 have included:

The discovery of HBO's 'The Wire'...also known as 'The Best Programme Ever Made....Ever'

The more recent but nonetheless as earth shattering discovery of 'Breaking Bad', not quite worthy of the top spot but definitely top 5 programme material

The discovery of 'The Mortal Instruments'series by Cassandra Clare - just when I thought no one would ever touch my devotion for Edward and Jacob (come on, you hadn't worked it out from the blog title!?) along came Jace.....I HIGHLY recommend these books

Another book I read which had a major impact was 'Born to Run' by Christopher McDougall - a great book which gave me a much needed kick up the backside to stick in with, and more importantly, enjoy my running.

One of Scotland's proudest moments when Andy Murray won Wimbledon, although tinged with the sadness that my Mum, who was a massive Wimbledon fan, did not live to see this historic moment

And finally, I am pleased to say that the year is ending on a high as the Twilight Chef is moving premises to a beautiful big house (with a fantastic kitchen).  This will be the first home my husband and I will own and it is a great way to end the most difficult of years

So, let's talk food, my personal blogging highlights of 2013 include:



Aubergine and Blue Cheese Salad (my first post!)









I hope to continue to create recipes which my family, friends and fellow bloggers enjoy.

On to others, my top 3 blogs from 2013 are:

3. The English Kitchen
2. Sips and Spoonfuls

And my absolute favourite.......:

1. The Black Cat Kitchen

A special thank you to Claire for her great recipes and pictures.  There are many other great blogs out there and one of the things I have loved about starting my blog is becoming part of the blogging community, I hope this will only expand in 2014.

I don't really have any New Year's resolutions but my husband and I, along with my sister and brother in law are doing a 10 month challenge where we give something up every month except your birthday month and December (why make life difficult for yourself!?).  So this month, we are giving up crisps, which won't actually be too bad but look out for how I get on in the chocolate month or (horror of horrors) the alcohol month....!!

So, to sum up, I am glad to put 2013 behind me and every day I have to continue to remember that out of the darkness there will be light and every day is a step forward in accepting the most painful of losses.

I wish all my fellow bloggers and readers a happy new year and good wishes for 2014.

My blog will continue to be a celebration of the legacy of cooks I come from, my Mum and both my sisters. I will continue to be inspired every day by Mum, the bravest woman I will ever know and my constant inspiration, both in and out of the kitchen.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Dolcini (or 'little puddings')

A great way to use up left over Christmas pudding.  I actually had half of mine in the freezer from last year after grossly over-catering as per usual but if you did not have a homemade one then you could use a shop bought version.  Either way the finished article is as pretty as it is addictive.

200 grams of dark chocolate
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
500 grams of crumbled Christmas pudding
2 tablespoons of brandy
100 grams of white chocolate
15 glace cherries

Melt the dark chocolate, butter and maple syrup in a bowl over a pan of boiling water.

Cool for a few minutes, then add the crumbled Christmas pudding and and the brandy.

Mix well and then use your hands to shape the mixture into 30 small balls.

Put in the fridge to chill for 1 hour.



Melt the white chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water.

Pipe or spoon the white chocolate on top of each ball and then top with half a glace cherry.

Cool and then start to eat - good luck stopping after only one!!!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Cinnamon French Toast with Bacon and Maple Syrup


Following a recent brunch date with my best friend, QJ - I was inspired to create what we ate at home.  The place where we ate was a fabulous restaurant in Edinburgh called Mimi's bakehouse which serves the most amazing food.  The platefuls QJ and I had were enormous, two huge wedges of french toast with several rashers of salty bacon and swimming in maple syrup - it was first class food and company!

So here is my homemade version and it holds up not too bad against the original.  This is very easy and really enhances a lazy weekend morning.

I have to dedicate this one to QJ - my long time partner in food, drink and devotion to teen book/film sagas....!


4 tablespoons of butter
3 eggs
A splash of milk
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
4 slices of bread
4 rashers of grilled bacon
Maple syrup to serve 

Heat two tablespoons of butter in a large frying pan.

Mix the eggs, milk and cinnamon on a plate and dip the bread in it then put it in the frying pan (you should be able to do 2 at a time).

Once the bread is golden and crispy put it on a plate with the bacon rashers on top and maple syrup poured over.

If you want an alternative french toast recipe, try it with cherry basil compote.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Seasonal - Autumn


As we are now well and truly into the cold weather, here is a wee collection of my Autumn recipes.  I love all the seasons but what I love most is the change from one to another and my favourite of these is from Summer to Autumn.  The leaves go from green to a splendid array of golds, reds, oranges and browns, the mornings and evenings become dark and frosty, I find myself looking out my jumpers, scarves and hats and, most importantly, I can start cooking wholesome, cosy meals and filling up the freezer for the winter.

So, my idea of cosy meals are soups, stews, curries, hearty pasta dishes, roast dinners...I could go on and on but I am sure you get the picture.  So here are some of my favourites........


And, one more thing, the Autumn photos were taken by my husband who loves photography, head over to his photo journal to check out more of his work:

http://www.blipfoto.com/Dominic87

Venison Stew
Beef Biryani
Mushroom and Black Pudding Risotto
Chilli Nachos
Lamb Tagine
Italian Sausage Pasta
Roast Chicken
Ham and Lentil Soup




Sweet and Sour Sauce


Yes - I know it is boring but when I am having Chinese food, sweet and sour remains one of my favourites.  So this is my homemade version.  I would serve this with chicken, turkey, mixed with noodles or, my personal favourite and another nod to my childhood....with meatballs
I usually make a big batch of this and freeze half for an easy tea later in the month when money and energy may be in short supply.


Out of interest, have any of you found yourself creating your favourite takeaway dish at home....?

1 pepper (any colour but preferably red, yellow or orange)
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
Half a red chilli (you can vary this depending on taste)
A knob of ginger
Either one fresh pineapple or a 425 gram tin of pineapple in juice
4 star anise
50 grams of tamarind paste
100 grams of caster sugar
100 ml of rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
1 teaspoon of honey
Salt and Pepper

Chop all the vegetables and place in a pan with most of the pineapple (leave some aside to be added later).

If you are using a tin of pineapple add all the juice to the pan but if you are using a fresh pineapple add some water to the pan as well.

Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.

Cool for a couple of minutes and then liquidise.





Return to the pan and add the remaining chopped pineapple, star anise, tamarind paste, caster sugar, rice wine vinegar and tomato puree.

Bring to the boil then simmer for 20 minutes until it is reduced and sticky.

Add seasoning and honey to taste.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Fruit and Nut Brownie

You know those times when chocolate and only chocolate will do....? This is the ideal dish for times like that.  I serve it with some good quality ice cream and a hot chocolate sauce made by melting dark chocolate with some butter and syrup and then adding a good glug of Baileys - divine!!!  

 50 grams of chopped nuts (any will do - just choose your favourite!)
50 grams of sultanas
50 grams of dark chocolate
110 grams of butter
2 eggs
225 grams of soft brown sugar
50 grams of plain flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
Quarter of a teaspoon of salt
Pre-heat the oven to 200 Degrees.

Roast the chopped nuts for 15 minutes.

Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water.

Add all the remaining ingredients to the melted chocolate mixture and stir until combined well.

Put in a large, lined baking tin and cook for 30 minutes. 

Tomato Sauce

2 tablespoons of oil
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
500 grams of passata
500 grams of water
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon of honey
8 sundried tomatoes
Salt and pepper
Dried mixed herbs
Half a teaspoon of dried chilli flakes

Heat the oil in a pan and add the chopped onion and garlic with a sprinkle of salt.

Cook over a very low heat for about 20 mins until softened.

Add the passata then fill the passata tub with water and add to the pan.

Bring to the boil then add the rest of the ingredients.

Simmer for 15 minutes.

This sauce can be served with a number of accompaniments, here are some suggestions

Pasta
Gnocchi
Meatballs
Sausages
Lasagne
Chicken